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Old 11-27-2012, 12:01 PM   #31
killfile
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gravityisnotmyfriend View Post
It seems you misunderstood - or maybe I wasn't clear. I didn't mean that you couldn't go fast on a vintage bike. I meant that if your only goal was to go fast - there is no way to do it that is easier and cheaper than to just buy a modern bike. It's the motivation behind the cafe trend that bugs me.

Oh, and there are no 300 mile days for me and my 350. I've got my cruiser for that. I've done a few 100 mile trips on the 350. And it does fine. But, I have the most fun on twisty 55 mph back roads with it.
yep, i understand ya now, almost agree, but my mission in life is to ride my slow ass vintage bike fast as hell for as long as possible!

The motivation behind the cafe craze irritates me too, but I also have to think back on when I started riding my 350, at about age 21/22. i was broke as hell, paid everything I had for the bike and did what I could on a limited budget at a time when I wasn't at all afraid of death and had the cocky confidence that comes at that age. Kinda like the original cafe racers as well. I would have made a lot of the same mistakes y'all are criticizing. Keep that in perspective with the fact that majority of motorcycle builders have been around the block a number of times, should know better, and are charging an arm and a leg for their 'improvements', and it's enough to make me ill.

The 300 mile days I'm talking about are also on twisty 55 mph back roads, they are just long days! Don't rule it out, it's as fun as hell.
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Old 11-27-2012, 12:25 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by Tanshanomi View Post
Hmmm. Very possibly, but I'm waiting for the Digger fad. ....
Heck yeah, the digger! The best form of the chopper out there.

However, the cafe racer/bobber/street tracker types are largely populated with bikes that are built around a stock frame involving no "your life depends on it" modifications done by the builder. I slapped an XS650 "cafe tracker" together back in 1997. It didn't require me to do a single weld. Now if I wanted to get serious about it, this would change but it is this ease with which the mods are done that attracts so many. A "bobber" just about has to be the simplest modified bike form out there. The whole idea is about simply removing stuff and changing a few basic items like the seat and bars. A basic cafe or tracker involves similar mods.

In the end though, people are in the garage working on a motorcycle. Fundamentally, that is good.

Ken

PS, my hack job cafe-tracker:
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Old 11-27-2012, 01:01 PM   #33
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Not a fan of this relatively new style of 'cafe racer' that seems too have its origin in the US
I far prefer the British style of a modified street bike striped of unnecessary weight fitted up with clipons, race seat and a set of great sounding pipes.
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Old 11-27-2012, 01:20 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by IHWillys View Post
However, the cafe racer/bobber/street tracker types are largely populated with bikes that are built around a stock frame involving no "your life depends on it" modifications done by the builder.
And most of them are a great deal worse of for it.

Most of the "stock frame" shade-tree customizers start with a bike that just doesn't work for what they're going for. Either learn to weld safely or hire it out, but make it look right.

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Old 11-27-2012, 02:25 PM   #35
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I will try to post more succinctly in case my point was lost, which would be my fault.


A digger requires a level of workmanship beyond the average.

Cafe-bob-trackers don't. Thus partly explaining their popularity with garage hacks.

Ken

PS, another angle of the one I assembled, which I don't think is so bad. But I have certainly come a long way since then and would do things differently now.
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Old 11-27-2012, 03:19 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by IHWillys View Post
A digger requires a level of workmanship beyond the average.

Cafe-bob-trackers don't. Thus partly explaining their popularity with garage hacks.

Ken

PS, another angle of the one I assembled, which I don't think is so bad. But I have certainly come a long way since then and would do things differently now.
I was alluding to the number of bikes that absurdly get tagged with the labels "cafe racers" and "choppers" in Craigslist ads, when they have absolutely nothing to do with either style of bike.

I do understand what you're saying, and I agree that everybody needs to start somewhere. As my dad taught me, "Anything worth doing is worth doing well, but most things can be done well only after you've done them badly."

And I don't think your XS is bad, ether—I was not attempting to slam your old ride.
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Old 11-27-2012, 04:31 PM   #37
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I'm happy to see people resurrecting old bikes and riding them! I look at the current cafe bikes as a form over function kinda thing. Frankly I don't understand why anyone would cafe a 350 Honda with the spindly frame and suspension and slooooow motor. But that's me.
The thing that gets me are people cafeing something without improving the handling or the motor. The whole point of a cafe racer is to go faster-less stuff for lighter bike, better handling to get thru the corners. Seeing stock swingarms, shocks and spindly forks, blah blah blah makes me smile and order another beer.
I like the challenge of getting my old bikes to run better faster and handle better. Currently working on a Triumph 750 and a BMW R90. They'll never go as fast or handle as good as my Buell but I don't care.
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Old 11-27-2012, 05:11 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tanshanomi View Post
I agree that the current café racer fad is as painful as the waning chopper revival. But let me be clear it's the FAD I object to, NOT skilled craftsmen modifying motorcycles, even if their resultant creations are more extreme and less functional than I like. What really boils my cabbage is when neophyte know-nothings make crappy, unsafe modifications to substandard bikes on the cheap and expect others to laud their their work as being on a par with what all those skilled craftsmen have produced.

Clueless hacks are out there building stupid crap in every style, including extended-wheelbase drag bikes, board track replicas and dualsport-conversion street bikes. The key difference is that there's not a trendy show on TV bringing those styles to the general public's consciousness...yet.

Just wait until "Adventure Bike Build-Off" comes to the History of Scientific Travel Channel.
AMEN Brother. Most fo what I see can BARELY be ridden down the street, in a OCC kinda way, never mind be FASTER than a stock old bike.

OTOH, I was stopped a traffic light on the stone stock old Notrun, a passerby smiles and says "Cool cafe racer!" I just waved...

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Old 11-27-2012, 05:28 PM   #39
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At least they are being ridden; no bike should be left to rot away behind somebody's garage.

But it is sad to see a fine old motorcycle, hacked, cut and chopped into something that isn't even practical to ride. But that's just my opinion.
Can I get an AMEN!?
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Old 11-27-2012, 05:41 PM   #40
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Just my opinion -

I've had a lot of different bikes over the years but my current ride is a modified 1989 Honda GB500.

It's obviously not as fast as my Hayabusa or VMax was but it will do the 1/4 in the 12s and still idle through town.

It's light weight and good basic design makes it a fun bike to ride.

It get's 60 miles to a gallon and a lot of favorable comments from riders and non riders everywhere I go.

Most people will agree that the GB is one of the best looking bikes ever made.

Cyclewizard is currently building two modified GB662 engines ( stock stroke and 106mm bore ) for me.
One is going in a stock appearing GB
https://www.dropbox.com/s/1qk4awse1f...%2041%20AM.jpg

and the other is being used for a scrambler version of the GB.
https://www.dropbox.com/s/2iiiucpn1f...%2031%20PM.jpg

Performance of both bikes will be much better than the Cycle World GB500 project
http://www.champsclock.com/gb500hu.htm

CW and I are seriously thinking of doing a production run of 10 modified GBs.

Chet
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Old 11-27-2012, 05:45 PM   #41
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they way I see it most of these old japanese bikes were headed to the junk/rust pile w/o this trend & this way they can carry on a new life.

it's not like a ton of guys are actively searching out older japanese bikes and using them for all their riding need. there are so many affordable, newer and better tech bikes on the market these older ones would just die in the junkyard.

for example a guy wants a nice comfortable mid-size stand-fitting use-every-day bike for a cheap price, yet is new enough it won't break every other month...he'll buy a DR650.
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Old 11-27-2012, 06:37 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by Scrivens View Post
Race cams and big carbs = no idle and a power band between 5 and 7000rpm; the only way to ride them is fast, because the engines don't do slow.

lol... yeah.. about that.. I have had a few small block V-8's that fit that description...haha.
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Old 11-27-2012, 08:07 PM   #43
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I'm probably not the first or last to point out that in Engelond, where cafe racers were invented, they probably kept their fenders on. You know, for like rain and pebbles from the cobbles and stuff.

No front fender combined with some glass-lensed aviator sunglasses is one of the sicker contemporary fashion looks.

I live in Brooklyn, where neo-rat-chopper faux-Angel and k-mart quality cafe are at very high, but roughly equal, peaks. It's a crap place to ride a bike without rear suspension.
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Old 11-27-2012, 10:59 PM   #44
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I'm probably not the first or last to point out that in Engelond, where cafe racers were invented, they probably kept their fenders on...
We did.

Actually we substituted a light alloy guard for the usually very effective but heavy steel one. One some bikes this lead to interesting front fork effects because the heavy steel guard acted as a fork brace.

I couldn't envisage riding a bike at speed without a guard. No guard = poser IMO.
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Old 11-27-2012, 11:13 PM   #45
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I think no front guard just labels a bike American, for those of us who ride in countries where it rains....and where we ride in the rain, no front guard is a dumb move.
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